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Rast’s Poker Journey

Posted on February 07, 2015 by Kimberly Goshterson

Brian Rast is the founder of Zen Poker Mentoring


Brian Rast is the founder of Zen Poker Mentoring, a poker training venture, and a winner of many tournaments. It is estimated that he won nearly $7.73 million by playing in a number of tournaments.


Early life

Rast, born November 8, 1981, showed extraordinary acumen in his early life. He soon enrolled in Stanford University to get a degree and was all scheduled to do so, until he got a taste of poker. His initial games were played at San Diego’s Barona Casino. He also played a no-limit Royal Vegas Poker on Prima Network. This continued until he bankrolled about $100,000. He terms this amount as “baseline number” at start of his career.

By this time, Rast was also making his mark in the world of online gambling. His rank was third in PokerStars Monday Million where he won $73,490. He also took the third position in Full Tilt Poker FTOPS III Main Event. He got $114,203.50 from Full Tilt. His success spurred him to move to Las Vegas, the Mecca of poker.


Personal and career progression

Rast met Phil Laak at Bellagio, where he won a game with his support. Laak introduced him to Antonio Esfandiari, who was once an aspiring magician. All three became fast friends a short time after that.

Soon after Rast went to Brazil as a tourist and met Juliana. They fell in love but faced a problem-the US rejected her visa multiple times and he could not get her to the United States. After a lot of pain with the visa process and missing the main game of the 2011 World Series of Poker, he could finally obtain a visa for Julianna and they eventually landed in Las Vegas in 2011. Rast scored his maiden gold bracelet when he defeated Allen Kessler to win Event number 15: $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em. The prize money was $226,232.

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